LAWFUEL – The Australia & New Zealand Legal Jobs & Law Network – Mr Piet Cornelius Walters has been sentenced to eight years jail in the Cairns District Court
after pleading guilty on 30 October 2007 to14 fraud charges laid by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and an additional charge of dishonest inducement.
ASIC’s Executive Director of Enforcement, Ms Jan Redfern said that today’s sentence should serve as a clear reminder that unscrupulous operators who misuse investor funds face lengthy periods of imprisonment.
The charges, involving over $992,000, relate to offences surrounding the provision of financial services to 12 clients of Drury Management Pty Ltd, a Cairns-based accounting
practice of which Mr Walters was a director.
Between 1999 and 2003, Mr Walters obtained loans from approximately 118 private investors in the Cairns area who were guaranteed returns of eight to 15 per cent per annum. The investors entered into these unsecured loans by way of promissory notes and deeds.
Mr Walters then dishonestly sought to gain an advantage for himself and Drury Management, or cause a detriment, by using the investors’ funds for his own purposes.
Mr Walters was originally convicted on 14 fraud charges on 16 September 2006 and appealed the District Court’s decision. On 27 April 2007, the conviction was overturned and a retrial ordered. Mr Walters will be eligible for parole on 1 November 2009. The parole date takes into account Mr Walters’ guilty plea and the time he has already served.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter.
In September 2002, ASIC obtained interim orders in the Supreme Court of Queensland in Cairns, appointing an interim receiver to an unregistered, managed investment scheme,
operating as Drury Management, in Malanda, Queensland.
ASIC obtained orders against the directors of Drury Management, Mr Walters and Mr Mark Samuel Evans, as well as Ransom House Pty Ltd, a company associated with Mr Walters.
The Court ordered that Mr Ian David Jessup of Jessup & Partners, Cairns (Jessup & Partners), be appointed as receiver of Drury Management, Mr Walters, Mr Evans and Ransom House Pty Ltd.
In October 2004, the Supreme Court of Queensland ordered Jessup & Partners be appointedas liquidator of the scheme, as well as Drury Management and Ransom House Pty Ltd. The liquidator estimated approximately $15 million in losses from the scheme.
The Court further declared all four respondents operated an unregistered investment scheme and that Mr Walters, Mr Evans and Drury Management carried on an investment advice business, securities business and financial services business without a licence or an exemption from being licensed.
The Court also imposed a permanent injunction restraining all respondents from further operating the scheme, receiving or soliciting funds in connection with the scheme, dealing with any property held by them, and destroying or interfering with any of their books and records.
In September 2004, ASIC permanently banned Mr Walters from providing any financial